Indonesia seeks five top terror suspects

 

Indonesia believes five of Southeast Asia's most wanted terror suspects are hiding within its borders and is on high alert at a regional leaders' summit on the bomb-scarred island of Bali, the police chief says.

Da'i Bachtiar also said he could understand that the United States wanted to retain custody of the region's most-wanted suspect, the Indonesian Hambali who has been linked to al Qaeda and the September 11 attacks and who was arrested in August in Thailand.

"For the class of Hambali whose activities reach beyond this region, I think we an understand if every country has some interest in him," the national police chief told reporters on Sunday.

"What is important is how to stop his activities," he said in a sign that Indonesia was unlikely to try any time soon to bring home for trial the man believed to have masterminded last October's Bali bombings that killed 202 people, most of them Western tourists.

Security was tight for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Bali, he said, and police were hunting for at least five of the region's most wanted men within the sprawling archipelago.

"We are really hunting for five people," Da'i Bachtiar said.

He named two of the region's top bomb makers who are suspected in the Bali bomb and the Jakarta Marriott Hotel bombing last August - Malaysian Azahari and Indonesian Dul Matin.

Also on his list was Indonesian Zulkarnaen, who is believed to be in charge of military affairs for the radical and shadowy Jemaah Islamiah (JI) group believed to have been behind the Bali and Marriott bombings, JI member Noordin Mohammed Top and a man named Tohir wanted since the Marriott bombing.

"These five continue to play some key role and probably have some followers... We do not know how many," he said. "There is a big possibility these five people are still in Indonesia."

But he said Indonesia had gathered no intelligence that indicated the leaders' summit on Tuesday and Wednesday was a target.

"Up to now we have not received any significant report of potential for disturbance, moreover terror," he said. "But we are on alert so we won't be complacent over the threat of attacks."